After last year’s blowout election, the Republican digital strategist Patrick Ruffini went on a not-so-secret mission to find out how to fix what was wrong with his party. “In less than 12 hours, the #infiltration begins,” he tweeted, the day before the start of RootsCamp, an annual conference for Democratic digital, data and grassroots strategists that is held by a liberal non-profit group called the New Organizing Institute.There's a reason that conservatives have fallen so far behind liberals on the technology front, and it truly is cultural. Go read Wired or Ars Technica or The Verge or any gadget blog and note how overwhelmingly liberal the publications are—pro-science, pro-progress and pro-net neutrality. They don't believe that AT&T would provide better service without government regulations or interference. They loathe our current intellectual property regime (both copyright and trademark). They want something done about global climate change (that science stuff) and stem cell research (more of that science stuff).
What he found at the event came as a sort of revelation: A vast liberal brain trust bursting with young talent who had advanced far beyond Republicans in the art and science of using data, analytics and voter outreach. He live-tweeted his observations, and then began meeting with other young strategists in his party [...]
They decided that the conservative movement simply did not have what liberals did: An infrastructure to train and nurture the next generation of campaign operatives and develop cutting-edge techniques. So they decided to take a shot at filling the void [...]
The first part of that ecosystem, for which incorporation papers were filed last week, will be called the Empower Action Group. It is envisioned as a conservative answer to the New Organizing Institute, a place for training and connecting young conservative talent. It will aim to increase the ranks of people with digital, data and organizing know-how working for the GOP. “We are just hoping to create more people who can go out and implement,” Ruffini said.
They are not happy that the sequester will gut science and research and cause incalculable damage to our nation's R&D efforts. They are not suspicious of government agencies, and in fact would rather see the FCC and FTC take a more proactive role against our too-big-to-fail communications corporations.
They would love to have the government provide national free wi-fi, or failing that, let cities do the same despite the protestations of the incumbent internet providers. They think gay people are fabulous. Multiculturalism is an unremarkable fact of life, and racism really chafes. The anti-education, anti-university chatter from the ignoramuses doesn't exactly sell with engineers and other tech professionals. And to top it all off, this crowd is very secular, and heavily atheist, for that matter.
Employees at Silicon Valley's top technology companies gave to President Barack Obama over Romney by over 2-1. Ninety-one percent of Apple employees who gave to a campaign gave to the president. Obama won Santa Clara County (San Jose, the capital of Silicon Valley) 70-28, San Mateo County 71-27, and San Francisco 83-13. The rest of the Bay Area was equally lopsided in favor of Obama, as was other tech hotbets such as Boston, NYC, the North Carolina Research Triangle and Austin.
As one techie put it after the election:
"We all work on evidence-based reasoning, and that's much more of a Democratic mindset than a Republican mindset," said Johnvey Hwang, 34, a San Francisco software engineer who volunteered with the Obama campaign. "It's hard to side with a party that's still trying to reach out to their base of creationists."There's a reason there's no such thing as a tech industry in Mississippi or Alabama. Conservatism is simply at odds with the forward-thinking preferred by those involved in the technology ecosystem. So yes, conservatives should be freaked out that we're kicking their ass on the technology front, but they won't be catching up until they evolve as a party. And as we've seen, they're not very good at the "evolution" thing.